A large scale fossilized creature unlike any other living creature on the planet.
What to make of this behemoth? If it doesn’t exist now, then how could it have left its skeleton behind?
A Remarkable Creature indeed, this strange bony being that Tracy Chevalier writes about in her brilliantly researched novel.
Remarkable also that finding these remains incited so many questions in the minds of Chevalier’s characters, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, the two women fossil hunters who discovered the skeleton.
Silly me, I was surprised at how revolutionary the concept of extinction once was, and not all that long ago either. As Elizabeth explains it, the idea that a species could “die out” when/if it was no longer suited for life in its environment was “troubling to people because it suggested that God does not have a hand in it, that He created animals and then sat back and let them die.” It implied that “God could make mistakes and need to correct Himself.”
Reverend Jones is quite adamant on the subject. “It is really very simple,” he assures Elizabeth, who comes to him with her questions. “All that you see about you is as God set it out in the begining. He did not create beasts and then get rid of them. That would suggest He had made a mistake, and of course God is all-knowing and incapable of error…”
So sure they were in their convictions, those people of the 19th century.
I read, and I wonder – what convictions do we hold with such certainty that will one day be proven otherwise?